In our fast-paced world, hospitality is a much needed gift. And it can be a gift to our neighbours as well as a gift to our marriage. We can get so busy that we don’t really spend time with others, have few couple friendships, and sometimes hardly know our neighbours. But if we are to show neighbourly love, first we must get to know them. Here are some fun and easy ways to extend hospitality. Start by planning a party!

Consider one of the following ideas:

  • Have a neighbourhood pizza party. You provide the crust and cheese. Then let your guests bring their favourite toppings.
  • Have a banana split party. Let your guests bring the cherries, chocolate syrup, nuts, fruit, whipped cream and so on. Then let each build their own creative dessert!
  • For the calorie, cholesterol, and fat conscious, plan a salad party and let your guest bring their favourite veggie.
  • Host a movie marathon. Rent classic old-time movies, pop popcorn, sit on the floor and laugh together.
  • Enlist the help of other neighbours and plan a progressive dinner.
  • Have a cookie decorating contest. Everyone brings their favourite cut-out cookies and you provide sprinkles, icings, and other decorations. Vote for the most creative, or the most unusual or the funniest decorated cookie.

One reason the Arps are not more hospitable is we just don’t have the time or energy. So we look for ways to simplify entertaining. Here are some of our favourite shortcuts:

  • Use paper plates, cups, and napkins.
  • If the weather permits, entertain outside.
  • Take advantage of prepared food. Rather than spending time dicing and cutting all those vegetables for appetizers, we pick up a wonderful, large tray with veggies, complete with dip for under $10! Also, when feeding an army we like the large frozen containers of lasagna.
  • Candle light adds to the ambiance and also hides dust! Just turn the lights down low and no one will notice you didn’t dust that day.
  • Be spontaneous. Have an impromptu party. Then no one will expect your house to be spotless and you don’t spend days fretting and preparing for it!

Have we inspired you? Then go on and be creative. Couple-friendships will enrich your own marriage. Plus hospitality just may be one way you spread a little love to others. So isn’t it time to party?

Written by Claudia and David Arp, MSW

David and Claudia Arp, MSW, founders of Marriage Alive Seminars, are marriage educators, columnists and authors of numerous books and small group video curriculum including “The Second Half of Marriage and 10 Great Dates” (Zondervan). You can visit their website: